But it is important to realize we are all trapped in mental constructs, and so we separate ourselves from reality; the whole world loses its aliveness-or, rather, we lose our ability to sense that aliveness, the sacredness of nature. When we approach nature through the conceptualizing mind, we see a forest as a commodity, a concept. We no longer see it for what it truly is, but for what we want to use it as. It is reduced. This is how it becomes possible for humans to destroy the planet without realizing what they are doing.
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After having been lost in the world, suddenly, through the pressure of suffering, the realization comes that the answers may not be found out there in worldly attainment and in the future. That's an important point for many people to reach. That sense of deep crisis-when the world as they have known it, and the sense of self that they have known that is identified with the world, become meaningless.
Feel the energy of your inner body. Immediately mental noise slows down or ceases. Feel it in your hands, your feet, your abdomen, your chest. Feel the life that you are, the life that animates the body. The body then becomes a doorway, so to speak, into a deeper sense of aliveness underneath the fluctuating emotions and underneath your thinking.
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For many people, the first indication of a spiritual awakening is that they suddenly become aware of their thoughts. They become a witness to their thoughts, so to speak. They are not completely identified with their mind anymore and so they begin to sense that there is a depth to them that they had never known before.
When you continuously know and sense yourself as the space of consciousness rather than what appears in consciousness - sense perceptions, thoughts, emotions - then it can be said that you are enlightened... except that you wouldn't think or speak of yourself as 'enlightened', because that would instantly create another mind-based conceptual identity and so it would be the end of 'your' enlightenment.
Once you have identified with some form of negativity, you do not want to let it go, and on a deeply unconscious level, you do not want positive change. It would threaten your identity as a depressed, angry or hard-done by person. You will then ignore, deny or sabotage the positive in your life. This is a common phenomenon. It is also insane.
The beginning of freedom is the realization that you are not "the thinker." The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated. You then begin to realize that there is a vast realm of intelligence beyond thought, that thought is only a tiny aspect of that intelligence. You also realize that all the things that truly matter "" beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace "" arise from beyond the mind. You begin to awaken.
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The answer is, who you are cannot be defined through thinking or mental labels or definitions, because it's beyond that. It is the very sense of being, or presence, that is there when you become conscious of the present moment. In essence, you and what we call the present moment are, at the deepest level, one.
The best indicator of your level of consciousness is how you deal with life's challenges when they come. Through those challenges, an already unconscious person tends to become more deeply unconscious, and a conscious person more intensely conscious. You can use a challenge to awaken you, or you can allow it to pull you into even deeper sleep. The dream of ordinary unconsciousness then turns into a nightmare.
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Direct your attention inward. Have a look inside yourself. What kind of thoughts is your mind producing? What do you feel? Direct your attention into the body. Is there any tension? Once you detect that there is a low level of unease, the background static, see in what way you are avoiding, resisting, or denying life-by denying the Now.
The power of the heart is to be connected with who you are at the deepest level. The power of the heart is the power of life itself, the power of the very intelligence that pervades and underlies the entire universe. It is a power that lies at the very heart of the universe. So to live in connectedness with that, then you are in touch with the power of the heart.
Most people don't know how to listen because the major part of their attention is taken up by thinking. They pay more attention to that than to what the other person is saying, and none at all to what really matters: the Being of the other person underneath the words and the mind. Of course, you cannot feel someone else's Being except through your own. This is the beginning of the realization of oneness, which is love. At the deepest level of Being, you are one with all that is.
Space really means the level of awareness or presence, not thinking. So, can you look at your partner and not think? Two conscious beings realize that the essence of the relationship is the space in it. Even when there is an egoic overlay, it is not too dense or heavy for you to sense the essence underneath it. You don't need to react to the egoic overlay. When you don't react to it you don't strengthen it.
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